A/N: Finally, after about 1.5 weeks, it's here. I'm not going to explain myself since frankly, I have no reason to. However, I will tell you all the reasons why this Dragon chapter is so late in release: 1. I'm on summer vacation (yay!), 2. I got extremely worked up (in a negative manner) over females, and 3. Reason 2 prompted me to enter 'Philosophy Mode', making me question/analyze the 'inner paradox' that I have (which I'll discuss after this chapter). This particular one-shot is also the first one I've ever done with a prompt, so it's probably going to be bad (or good, depending on your standards). You readers seriously will not believe how many requests I got for the Dragon girl to be a tsundere in this. Anyways, before that, I've got some unfinished business to address. "Pon!" *Silence fills the room as nothing happens* "Hmm, usually he'd be here by now..." *Ducks down just fast enough to dodge a barrage of shuriken* "Huh? Okay, very funny. Who did that?" "Me." *Pon appears from nowhere and stabs me* "Hmph, I should've done that long ago." "Oh my, this is mildly inconvenient." *Pon looks in horror as I calmly pull his sword out* "H-How are you still alive?" "My precious little intern...I thought you knew me better than that." *Roars wildly as the wound closes instantly* "W-What are you?" "Nothing special. Just a regular guy blessed with a limitless will to live." *Pon crumples to the ground as I walk past him* "Oh, and Pon? Feel free to take a vacation next week. You're gonna need it."
I let out a long, audible yawn as the sun rises on the castle once again. Each morning, I always send a wish to the gods that I could be somewhere else, even though I live in this fortress. There's not much to do around here now that the country is in a monster-friendly state, not like a lot happened before then. Officially, I'm a guard bound to this place, charged with protecting it from any and all invaders; in reality, I'm more like a janitor. The five years I've lived here have seen more occupation than I can count on two hands and I've served under just about every leader from both the human and monster armies. Most of my days consist of nothing more than cleaning the castle, various naps, and occasionally going into the nearby town for supplies. The only thing that keeps me moving through these dull days is (very) likely possibility of a new occupant in the castle.
I stretch out lazily as I stare up at the dawn sky. My mood lifts considerably when I see one of the few entertainments that I have in living here: birds. There's plenty of flocks flying around here, which is why I always keep my bow on me at all times. This particular flock seems to have something large flying above it, but I pay no mind as I nock back an arrow and steady my aim. Taking careful and slow breaths, I wait for the flock to come just within my range. I let go of the arrow as soon as the birds come within 100 meters of the castle. The projectile soars straight into the flock as it seeks out a target. It flies deep within the flock, but somehow it misses all of the birds and veers towards the black mass behind above them. I see the arrow disappear into the unknown flyer, and moments later I see it jerk suddenly until it changes its course to the castle.
Instinctively, I dash down the stairs of the castle tower hoping that whatever it was won't crash directly into the castle interior. The sounds of crumbling stone and crashing furniture make me more worried as I hasten my speed, bursting out into the main courtyard within moments of my descent.
There on the ground I see my unfortunate victim sprawled out and shaking, but thankfully alive. I recognize it now as a member of the Dragon species as her icy blue scales shine brightly in contrast to the dull gray cobblestone of the castle courtyard. I inspect her body after taking a few steps closer, taking notice of my arrow which has lodged itself deep into her left side and pierced through her wing. I let out a deep sigh before kneeling down and lifting her somewhat light body. She isn't at all heavy, but her toned body puts on a bit of weight; nothing I can't handle. As I hold her on my back, her long blonde hair falls over shoulder and I realize how dirty it has gotten since she crashed into the castle. I make a mental note to run a bath, then carry her inside the main building while sighing periodically.
Inside one of the many empty bedrooms, I lay the Dragon girl down on a freshly-prepared bed and leave to get some of the medical supplies that I have hidden around. However. as soon as I get back, I see the room torn apart and the furniture in pieces as a vague scratching sound fills my ears. I only blink once before the all-too-familiar feeling of danger gathers behind me and a claw is pressed against my neck.
“Any last words before I bring you to your knees?” Her voice threatens.
“Sure”, I swiftly throw my body backwards into my attacker and cause her to instinctively distance herself, “How much longer do you think you can fight in your condition?” I ask while turning to face her.
“Hah, these small injuries are nothing! I would worry more about-ohh...” She crumples slightly, allowing me to close in and lift her in my arms.
“You shouldn't have tried to get up so quickly. At least let me tend to your wounds for a while, then we talk.”
“N-No, I'm fine. This won't slow me down at all...” The Dragon passes out, eliciting a sigh from me as I look at her with boredom.
I bring her back into the room and set her on the bed once again, fixing back all of the furniture afterwards. Of all of the occupants that this castle has experienced, this Dragon is definitely one of the more violent ones, but I tend to favor these types solely because they are the most interesting. Although I've never had a Dragon occupy the castle before, the massive pride that I see in humans still exists within this one. With one swift motion, I get to work on dressing her wounds starting with her side. Unfortunately, the scales covering her body make it difficult to apply the bandages. Without wanting to waste time, I instead move on to her punctured wing, swiftly plucking out the arrow that was lodged in there when she initially got hurt. I use some sticky gauze to cover the hole as much as possible while applying some of my (basic) healing magic to promote regeneration.
The wound closes, but it's paper-thin at best so I get back to uncovering the scales covering her body. About thirty minutes pass by before I realize how futile my efforts are, so I lightly shake the girl awake.
“...Mmm...what...?” She looks at me with sleep still dominant in her mind.
“Could you please remove these scales here? You can go back to sleep after that.” I softly ask her, hoping that her suggestive state lasts.
“Oh...okay...there you go. Back to sleep...” She slurs her words as she lets her head fall back onto the pillow as her scales slowly recede.
“Thank you very much.” I give her a few pats on the head before going back to work.
I yawn again as I slowly shuffle through the castle with a towel around my waist. A few hours have passed since I finished treating my new guest, and now evening is just beginning to set In while I go to take a bath. I take another step before, in a sudden motion, the ceiling above me collapses and the newly-bandaged Dragon girl drops down.
“Hi.” She grins threateningly.
“Good evening to you as well. I see you are doing well despite your injuries.” I give a slight bow before sidestep her and continuing on my way.
“Hold it”, she grabs me by the hand, “Where are you going?”
“The bath; I need to keep my hygiene, you see.” I lazily explain as I free my hand.
“I'm not finished with you yet!” She blocks my way again.
I raise an eyebrow in response, folding my arms in anticipation.
“What kind of favor do you need from me?” Her face looks troubled as she awaits my answer.
“I don't need anything. I only helped you because it was the right thing to do.” I explain, picking up on her reasoning.
“That's impossible; no one just helps people out of kindness. You must have a motive.”
“If you are really curious about me, then read this.” I use some minor magic to materialize a small pamphlet and hand it to the Dragon girl.
“Hmm, 'Roland'...is that your name?”
“Yes, and be sure to carefully read about who I am. My duties will begin tomorrow, so please be finished by then.”
With everything settled, I leave the Dragon girl in the hallway to read as I finally proceed on my way to a much-delayed bath.
The bath feels much more invigorating now that I've done something productive, but as I've learned, peace can never be everlasting. I lay there in the stone tub for only ten minutes before there is a knock on the door. Not wanting to pause the relaxing mood that I've finally eased into, I just keep my eyes glued to the ceiling as the door creaks open. I should have realized earlier that this Dragon would not simply sit still, but it's not like I entirely reject that fact; I welcome it actually. The door opens wider, accompanied by the tapping of claws on the stone floor as she draws closer to the tub. I let out a deep breath once the Dragon girl looks down at me, blocking my vision.
“What is it now?” I tiredly inquire, sitting up to face her.
“I never gave you my name, did I?” She smugly tells me, tightening a towel around her form.
“Ah, right. It just wouldn't do for me to call you 'Mistress', would it?” I reply sarcastically.
“Anyways, you may call me Athene.” She smiles proudly as I raise an eyebrow.
“Okay...Athene. Is that all you came here for?” I slowly sink back into the water, but then Athene does something I've never experienced: she drops her towel and climbs into the tub.
“Uh...um...what are you doing?” I can only stutter as I watch Athene with wide eyes.
“D-Don't m-misunderstand me. I-I only want to get to know you...b-better. You should be th-th-thankful that you get to bathe with me, Roland.” Athene looks away from me with a blush.
“I never did get your thanks for treating you. Let's discuss that, shall we?” I tease as I lean forward with my hands on her bare shoulders.
“G-Geez, a-a servant s-shouldn't be doing such things to his m-m-master...” She protests, but her body says otherwise.
“You must know that I don't like being teased by now. So why tempt me here?” I grin as I unbind myself from all of the usual aspects of my personality.
“I-I-I w-w-was just f-feeling lonely, idiot.” Athene blushes even deeper as she wraps her arms around my body.
“I won't let you be lonely then. I'll always stay by your side as long as you're here.”
Athene and I have an arousing bath together as we start to understand each other more intimately.
A/N: Again, I can't stress enough how...borderline apologetic I am. Those three reasons I gave should be enough, but I didn't really explain #3, did I? Well, I can't really say it explicitly since there will be a massive backlash among the females readers (yes, I know there's some; there's always some.). Okay, here I go: there's a paradox surrounding this entire series (and the last one) that I have which happens to do with my opinion on women in general. Normally, you all would assume that I more-or-less worship women (or at least favor them greatly) because I write these one-shots; in reality, I feel the complete opposite. So if I dislike women, yet make these one-shots, then does that mean I'm looking for the perfect woman or is it a testament to my true opinions on them? Whatever it may be, you guys are allowed to discuss is either in the comments or with me personally; I'm curious about it myself. Now that I've addressed that, I have a request that I'd like to force onto all of you guys: please don't give me special conditions for your suggestions. What I'm talking about is asking for the heroines to have a certain personality, such as what many readers did when they requested this Dragon one-shot. Everyone wanted it to be a tsundere chapter (and I understand, given the species), but putting a limit on my creativity severely lowered the quality of my work as I'm sure you all noticed when you read it. So, that's about it. Keep this a secret, but next chapter will give us a look into Pon's vacation and how much trouble he seems to call to himself whenever he's out on his own. I've also arranged for his 'wife' (you know, the one who gave me a cheesecake offering) to meet with him in whatever town he decides to visit. This should be a fun chapter, considering his 'wife' is a Youko. Ooh, I'm getting so excited that I can hardly wait! Thank you all for your patience with me on this one-shot. I assure you that I don't plan to be this late again unless important issues come up. Please comment below if you'd like, but don't be too serious; we're here to have fun after all!